(I apologies for the erratic fonts, as this letter was copied and pasted, wordpress did some weird stuff to it as I tried to format (delete) the extra spacing. I don’t know a lot about wordpress, (i.e. can you choose fonts or sizes?) If anyone knows how I can fix this, please let me know.


Dear Robert & Monica
Hope  you had  some  nice  quality family  time before getting back to the full swing of your busy time.
We have a deep appreciation to both of you for providing us with great classes & a lifetime of exquisite memories.
Rather than telling you the details of my over all impressions I should send you the Email I sent to LoisAnne & Nyla . 
LoisAnne wanted  to know all about our 2nd week experiences.
It might be interesting for you to  see a  different point of view from outside in.
It was originaly typed  by Mike because I have been a proud cave woman…..never have
touched a computer.  But for the first time I decided  to come out of the cave and learn
the darn thing !

Here is  the  letter…

Dear Loisanne & Nyla
Thank you for the wonderful email Loisanne.

Yes, We really missed our  Sterling’s classmates, especially you two.
It was so sad to say goodbye to the friends we shared the classes, good times, and meals
 with for a week.
We had only five people besides us for the creative art class . This time Mike was the only man and had to be a participant.  It was a small but colorful group.
I know that last year they had the same class after Sterling’s but I didn’t expect anything could be as great. But it was sooo different and I needed to come out of my square mold and it was good for me.
The instructor, Donna Estabrooks was a fun loving person who can produce a huge size artwork in a short time.  One day we were working on a cloth canvas trying to set the mood with colors. When I heard the lunch call, I said ” I”ll do it after lunch.”  Donna’s reply was  “you can do it in two minutes”.  Imagine, i’m a very slow worker but I did it in Two minutes!. You two have got what  it takes and you’d have fit right in! 

Part 2 
“Creative in Art”. This was anything goes.  Painting with rollers, dripping, and spattering the paints, sprinkling sparkles and making collages with found objects. I made a nice piece with a discarded tile , driftwood shells, and beads.  I don’t look at objects the same way now, they can be parts of wonderful art.      I said ” that means we can all become hoarders?”  One person said that she is already on the borderline.( of hoarding) . I’ve never done anything quite like this , but it was an eye opening experience.   It’s almost like going back to your childhood and rediscovering the hidden or repressed artistic side that every one has, then just enjoying the process.   It was so good for me to step out of the old boundaries.

The first event that we all took part in was a trip to the village of Tuito in the mountains to experience the festival of the Virgin of Guadalupe . Everyone, old and young was dressed in
colorful costumes and there were vendors and food booths on the street as well as carnival rides. There were many strolling guitarists and mariachi bands all through the village. Other villages from all around came to the festival and were represented in the parade. Singers, dancers, musicians and just families all marched in the parade. They ended up at the church of San Pedro with offerings . It was a moving sight to see.
Just like the first week, we enjoyed a trip into town.  At a gallery,  Robert was excited because he found a beautiful alpaca sweater on sale for half
price . In the meantime , the owner of the gallery served all of us some tequila which he poured
 from a miniature cask . Most of us who drunk the tequila ended up purchasing something there.
Imagine Robert and Mike buying alpaca sweaters in Mexico!!   No wonder they were on sale.
It was eighty degrees outside!   A sculptor from San Francisco, Susan bought two different
Skelton sculptures, one a dog and the other a dragon . It must have been very powerful tequila!!

Our boat trip this time was to the village of Yllapa. Some of us went up a trail to see a beautiful waterfall on a hill side above the village . Robert got into the pool and waded right under falls . It is a very sacred practice in Japan to go under waterfalls and meditate among spiritual seekers .  But I haven’t heard of anyone around where I lived actually doing it. I couldn’t believe it!   This was one of my biggest moments . The opportunity presented itself right in front of me , when I least expected. I got into the water and Robert escorted me right up to the falls and Mike soon followed It was so cold but exhilarating. I let myself go and water just flowed all over me. What an experience !  Since I have this waterfall ritual under my belt , I can’t wait to tell my family back home. 

Afterwards , we all enjoyed a short lesson from Robert on the beach with margaritas in our hands. That’s the way to study! Our last event was a visit to the Botanical Gardens, led by Robert and Monica. We never expected it to be such a spectacular place…..In the middle of the mountains looking Down into a beautiful  valley .    The place was literally covered with layers and layers of bougainvillea. There were comfy chaise lounges set up in an open air room. among lovely Orchids and other flowers. We laid on the lounges. And enjoyed watching exotic birds  and Hummingbirds  coming to the feeders outside. It felt like time stood still. We could be there forever…….  
You wanted to know about Robert’s class …. All I can say is we loved it very much ! He is a kind and wonderful teacher. He showed Mike how to paint two different watercolor  washes with positive and negative Painting techniques on them .  It attracted everyone’s attention. Mike produced two paintings with Robert’s help . I’d better keep up with my painting so Mike will not say, “Iko move over.”
Are you recovered from the trip yet?    I’m having a hard time coming back to reality…. after spending an extraordinary two weeks in paradise . 
Nyla , your roosters were still up in the trees when we left , alive and well maybe too well.
Your speech at our last dinner on the beach was so thoughtful and touching .
LoisAnne, my painting buddy, you were my inspiration 
Let’s keep in touch and keep on painting 
Your friend


Thank you so much again for the beautiful watercolor painting….you don’t know how much It means to us . We are also enjoying…..We call Casa music you gave us. We are back at the Casa every time we listen to the music …which is every day .
We are even considering to attend Sterling’s workshop next year again .
                                                         Sending love to you both.
        Iko   &  Mike

ob under the falls, Yelapa
church, El Tuito
dinner on the beach in Boca